The negotiation process on the Latin America and Caribbean agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration) is continuing, with participants at the Third Meeting of the Negotiating Committee considering a revised draft text.
The document (LC/L.4059/Rev.1) addresses substantive aspects of the regional agreement, and reflects countries' earlier proposals.
5 April 2016: The negotiation process on the Latin America and Caribbean agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration) is continuing, with participants at the Third Meeting of the Negotiating Committee considering a revised draft text. The document (LC/L.4059/Rev.1) addresses substantive aspects of the regional agreement, and reflects countries’ earlier proposals.
The Third Meeting opened in Montevideo, Uruguay, on 5 April 2016. With the signature of Grenada to the declaration on the application of Principle 10, a total of 21 regional countries are participating in the negotiations and regional agreement. The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) serves as the technical secretariat of the negotiating process, and is organizing the Third Meeting with the Government of Uruguay.
At the opening ceremony, speakers emphasized that the rights of access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Martín Vidal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uruguay, said the 2030 Agenda reiterates the importance of civil society’s active participation at all stages in determining environmental policy. Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary, said: the current development pattern is not sustainable and must be changed; the 2030 Agenda requires a new social compact; and people must have reliable information and access to justice to “move from a culture of privilege to a culture of equality,” including active governance of natural resources.
Patricia Madrigal, Costa Rica’s Deputy Environment Minister and co-chair of the Presiding Officers of the negotiating process, said rights of access and democracy are necessary for sustainable development, and that addressing these issues prevents socio-environmental conflicts, opens spaces for participation, and reduces corruption. Civil society representatives said the standards set by the process will mitigate environmental conflicts, promote good governance and advance citizens’ rights in the region.
The text serving as a basis for negotiation during the Third Meeting incorporates proposals on the preamble and the first ten articles of the preliminary document on the regional agreement. The 66-page text includes proposals to articles on, inter alia: objective; definition; principles; scope of application; general obligations; access to environmental information; generation and dissemination of environmental information; public participation in environmental decision-making; access to justice; capacity building and cooperation; resources; and implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The updated text reflects discussions at the Second Meeting of the Negotiating Committee, which met in Panama in October 2015, and written proposals submitted immediately following the Second Meeting. The first meeting of the negotiating committee convened in Santiago, Chile, in May 2015. Negotiations are expected to conclude by December 2016.
Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development seeks to ensure that every person has access to information, participates in decision-making and can access justice in environmental matters, with the aim of guaranteeing the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations. [Meeting Website] [Text Compiled with Country Proposals] [ECLAC Press Release Announcing Meeting] [ECLAC Press Release on Opening of Meeting] [Meeting Agenda] [ECLAC’s Principle 10 Website] [IISD RS Story on Second Meeting] [IISD RS Story on First Meeting] [IISD RS Story on Negotiating Process]